In case you missed (Chef, Local Food Advocate and Locavorest Producer) Brian Henry’s delicious food column from this week’s Peterborough Examiner, here it is:
Farmers’ markets have been a mercantile for locally sourced foodstuffs for more than 5,000 years. The first of these markets appeared along the Nile River in Egypt with farmers selling fresh produce and livestock that were brought via cart or raft as refrigeration and transport were yet to be conceived. This naturally dictated the market concept of farmers from the immediate area offering their locally and seasonally grown foods to urban populations. This simple model of the farmers’ market became commonplace throughout Europe and remained relatively unchanged until the late 1700s.
The influx of people coming to the New World in the 17th and 18th century saw immigrants bring their traditions and cultures with them, which saw farmers’ markets emerge in Canada which promoted the preservation of cultures through agriculture and foods. From the First World War to 1970 our lives became rather modern through the industrialization of our society, causing a gradual decline in interest of farmers’ markets as supermarkets were the new market.
In the mid-1970s Canadians started to become more environmentally conscious. This created a resurgence in the demand for local food which also saw society requesting a return to simpler times. This market place trend has been steadily growing since and has seen farmers’ markets increase their presence to unprecedented levels.
These markets are mostly relegated to a niche role in the modern food supply as a food-retailing mechanism that is self-governed and premised with the baseline requirement that all products sold must be local. The term “local” is subject to interpretation.
Today the retail marketplace is again shifting as technology is changing how we shop. Sears went the way of the dodo because they resisted change even when they were in the seamless position to lead the online retail market, but they stuck to what they had always done without embracing change.
Online shopping has morphed the retail market into a new land of opportunity. Amazon is leading this marketplace and has promoted a culture of entrepreneurial creativity fueled by societal demand for freedom of choice and freedom of time with 24-hour online access to shopping from the comfort of home while having our purchases delivered to our door. Our smart devices can also order dinner or groceries now to be delivered to our homes on demand.
It is only natural that some creative minds like those at Locavorest were able to apply this modern-retail thinking to the traditional farmers’ market concept. Their simple but brilliant approach to creating a virtual online farmers’ market embraces both modern technological conveniences and preserves the integrity of local food while supporting local producers. Their concept is environmentally sustainable as they deliver the food to your door, eliminating vehicular traffic to farmers’ markets, and supports a local food network of local producers only from the area which promotes food security within our region by supporting local producers.
Using Locavorest is easy to do; just visit them online at www.locavorest.com where you will find many of the farms and foodstuffs that I have regularly supported and written about in the past, while finding some new ones yet to be discovered as they offer the largest database of selection of any farmers’ market in the area.
Their website is always up to date and supported with a blog that highlights local producers and offers recipes that can be created from foods that they offer, which is why this week I encourage you to visit and shop Locavorest and try one of their locally inspired recipes while supporting locally sourced ingredients.
Lakefield area chef Brian Henry owns and operates Chef Brian Henry Private Chef Services: www.chefbrianhenry.com.
And yes, he’s glimpsed into the future – we’ll be introducing home delivery this spring!